Faced with adversity at the immature age of five years old, Daren gained a sense determination and self motivation early in life. He was challenged academically and had to prove that he could perform at an advanced level. Sensing a wide scope of abilities, Daren went beyond academic expectations and rose to the top in all of his classes. This sense of determination and self motivation has been the source of Daren’s success so far. As Daren entered into high school in the International Baccalaureate Program at St. Petersburg High School, the barriers to success became more evident than ever. Entering the program with only two African American males, it wasn’t often he was surrounded by peers like himself. Nevertheless, due to the feeling his parents instilled in him that education always had to come first, Daren never allowed the issue to block his success. A colorblind and culturally accepting view of life has led to his involvement in both school and his community. Daren is involved in numerous school activities. He has been an active member of the Interact Service Club, and Spectrum Multicultural Club for four years. He has been voted president of his class for four consecutive years. As president of his class he helps plan multiple activities for the school and the community. One of his biggest and proudest achievements was amassing over $20,000 for Hurricane Katrina victims, through a school-wide fundraiser. Due to achievements in school, he has been asked to speak at many orientations for incoming students as a source of encouragement. Daren has also been appointed to be the International Baccalaureate student representative at international conferences under the Florida League of IB Schools. He was awarded for his leaderships skills by receiving the Kodak Young Leadership Award in 2006.
While Daren remains active in many school organizations, he never loses focuses from his academics. He has remained in the top 1% of his class through the duration of his high school career. Daren belongs to the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta (Math Honor Society), Rho Kappa (Social Studies Honor Society), Science Honor Society, English Honor Society, and the Spanish Honor Society. He has been recognized for his academic achievement by Ebony Scholars under Pinellas County School, National Honor Roll, All American Scholar, and was awarded the 2008 “Making the Grade” award by St. Petersburg Florida City Council. In addition to Daren’s activities in school, he is known for activism in the community. He is on the Youth Advisory Committee under Pinellas County Board of Commissioners, where he worked on a Voter Registration Bill for the Florida State Legislator. He is also a member of the 4-H Youth Development Grant Board, under the Juvenile Welfare Board. He has been elected as the Vice President of the Ebony Scholars Academic Club in 2006, and held the position as President in 2007-2008 Daren also hold the position as President of the NAACP Youth Council of St. Petersburg.
Daren looks forward to venturing into the next phase of his life hoping to continue to make an impact in his community. He sees his horizons as endless and knows that his sense of determination and self-motivation will continue to lead him towards success.